Yesterday Big Daddy Drew at Deadspin addressed the subject of Blogging as Journalism. It is an excellent read and I highly recommend for anybody that spends time reading blogs, to take five minutes and read it. It is my feeling that this debate is at the core of much of the criticism that has been leveled at this site, both in the comments and in emails.
Some feel that at times I can be overly critical of newspaper columnists and websites that cover the Rays. What people need to realize is that Rays Index is just a chronicle of what is going on in the Raysiverse mixed with my occasional editorialization. Some of those thoughts have been molded by talking with others before I write, but make no mistake, the words on this page are mine and mine alone. One person’s opinion. If you disagree with me, I must ask why you hate freedom. Or maybe I am wrong. That is what the comments section is for, and I promise those comments are never censored.
I am not a journalist, nor am I trying to be a journalist or pretending to be a journalist. It should be obvious that there is a clear distinction between the writings at this site and the work that is done at The Tampa Tribune or The St. Pete Times. And while it may not be as obvious, many of the same distinctions are what separates this site from another Rays “blog”, DRays Bay.
Many of the criticisms directed at this site are for the way I have treated writers at DRays Bay. Sports blogs come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Unlike most blogs, including this one, Drays Bay is trying to be a journalistic entity and some of the writers at Drays Bay aspire to be professional sports writers. One has even written a book on the Rays. They try to give you breaking news. They do interviews. They present everything to you in real time, whether it be important or not. They have 284 different writers and 10,000 different things you can click on their front page. They are the Yahoo! of Rays websites.
At RI, I don’t often write until I have had a chance to discuss the topic, think the topic through, feel out multiple sides to the topic. It gives me a chance to offer a well-thought out evaluation of what has happened, what has been said, and what has been written…and maybe insert a poop joke or two. And quite frankly a lot of the topics don’t need much discussion, so they go in the “Devil Rays Webtopia” the next morning. But if something is written that is idiotic, silly or just plain wrong, I will voice my opinion and make sure that Rays fans are made aware as to why I feel the other piece is crap. It does not matter whether the original piece was presented by the Tribune, the Times, DRays Bay or Martha’s Beanie Baby Blog.
From Big Daddy Drew’s post on Deadspin…
The problem is that many journalists, and in turn many readers, have a deeply held belief that the printed word (on paper or electronically) holds more weight than the spoken word. That it is somehow sacrosanct. But that’s not true on blogs, or on message boards, or on text messages. In these new forms of media, the written word is just as disposable and frivolous as a conversation between me and you (and talking with me is like taking a dip in an empty kiddie pool). And it’s foolish to assume otherwise. Most sports blogs are run by fans, and serve mainly as an online extension of the friendly banter we all engage in about sports on a daily basis. It’s not journalism. It’s a blog. It’s its own thing, and the two needn’t be confused.
I have no aspirations to be a journalist, so I am not worried about offending anybody. I don’t care if the team gets upset with something I write, because I am not seeking interviews. I don’t care if I insult Marc Lancaster or Marc Topkin, because I am not trying to get a job with the Tribune or the Times. That allows me to truly speak to you as one fan would speak to another. You may not agree with my evaluation, but it is mine…uncensored.
I would like to think that this gives RI a level of objectivity that you will not find elsewhere. Unlike journalists, or those that aspire to be journalists, we are not beholden to the hands that feed us. We feed ourselves.
The Super Bowl Bye Week Jamboroo, In Which Drew Pauses To Make A Serious Point About Blogging As Journalism, Then Makes Chili [Deadspin]